Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106
02/09/2018 08:00 AM House EDUCATION
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HB 214-BREE'S LAW; DATING VIOLENCE PROGRAMS 8:03:28 AM CHAIR DRUMMOND announced that the only order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 214, "An Act renaming a portion of the Alaska Safe Children's Act as Bree's Law; relating to Bree's Law programs and Bree's Law activities; relating to dating violence and abuse policy, training, awareness, prevention, and notices; and providing for an effective date." 8:04:11 AM PATRICK FITZGERALD, Staff, Representative Harriet Drummond, Alaska State Legislature, presented HB 214 on behalf of Representative Drummond, prime sponsor. He stated that Bree's Law is in reference to Bree Moore, who was a victim of dating violence which ended her life senselessly. He reported that Alaska ranks in the top ten states with the worst record of dating violence and sexual abuse, with more than 1,000 high school students reporting sexual dating violence one or more times in 2017. Mr. Fitzgerald stated that this statistic provides "a scary glimpse into the future of ... generations of Alaskans who think it isn't abnormal to experience abuse in a relationship." He said everyone has a role in preventing dating violence, and establishing a line of help and awareness needs to happen in order to end such violence. MR. FITZGERALD explained that Bree's Law would address dating violence sections of the Alaska Safe Children's Act "in an effort to create an ... effective, knowledgeable awareness to combat the horrible trend that plagues this state." He said the hope of the sponsor is that Bree's Law will become recognized and identified in helping young adults in relationships to access the help they need to be able to remove themselves from abusive relationships. He said Bree's Law is being referenced by educators across the state as "an informal identifier of dating violence prevention"; passing HB 214 would make that official. Mr. Fitzgerald informed the committee that Bree's parents, Butch and Cindy Moore, were on line. 8:06:15 AM BUTCH MOORE stated, "We have really made some great strides in reducing dating violence in Alaska." He noted that Governor Bill Walker had signed a proclamation naming February 2018 Dating Violence and Awareness Month. He reported that in 2015, 10.1 percent of teens polled experienced dating violence. He said, "That was the year we worked on passing the Alaska Safe Children's Act." He said in 2017, another poll of teens showed that the number of them who had experienced dating violence had dropped to 5.5 percent. He said 3,500 posters are being sent to all 359 middle schools and high schools, and those posters provide an 800 number, a text number, and an online chat resource available 24/7 to anonymously reach a trained advocate, who can route the person to services in his/her community. He said this information is crucial, because many times a student does not want to talk to a teacher. Mr. Moore said there is also a public service announcement on the governor's web site. He stated that "we" have a web site that is linked with the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA), the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (ANDVSA), and Love Is Respect - a national teen dating violence prevention hotline. MR. MOORE, regarding the use of Bree's name for educational purposes, said currently there is no nationwide education for tenth- through twelfth-graders that addresses "the lethality of dating violence and actually murder." He said "we" are working with the Department of Education & Early Childhood Development and several school districts, including the Anchorage School District, to develop a small outline and a four- to five-minute video that teachers can use in the classroom. He said [he and his wife] have gone to many speaking engagements and to the Student Advisory Board in Anchorage, which comprises 80 students, and told them about Bree. He stated, "They had no idea why they had had this education; ... when they realized that Bree was killed, all the dots were connected for them." He said he has received input from various boards, from Abused Women's Aid in Crisis (AWAIC), from Victims for Justice, and from several Native corporations. He relayed that Native corporations have said the posters are needed in community centers and libraries to show people in villages that [dating violence] is not limited to rural areas. Mr. Moore said "we" have a lot of support, and he credited timing as one reason. He mentioned media influence toward change. He offered thanks to the committee for its work on HB 214. 8:11:06 AM CINDY MOORE thanked the House Education Standing Committee for considering HB 214. She said the feedback from school children is unbelievable. She stated, "They don't even realize that some of the red flags that exist with dating violence are even an issue." One example she gave was texting someone "5,000 times a day." She said, "It's just amazing to see ... the transformation in ... these kids and their knowledge of dating violence prevention. So, we're going to save a lot of lives, everyone. Thank you so much." 8:12:23 AM CHAIR DRUMMOND said she is delighted to sponsor HB 214 and bring Bree's name forward into law. 8:13:33 AM CHAIR DRUMMOND, after ascertaining that there was no one who wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 214. 8:13:41 AM REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ spoke to the value of putting a name, a face, and a story to the issue of dating violence. She speculated that renaming the Alaska Safe Children's Act section regarding dating violence and prevention after Bree Moore would help to make a personal connection for many students and hopefully reduce the incidences of dating violence. She said it is exciting that teen violence has decreased from [10.1] percent to 5.5 percent. She added, "But I think we'd all love to see it go to zero, if possible." 8:15:10 AM REPRESENTATIVE PARISH moved to report HB 214 out of committee with individual recommendations and attached zero fiscal note. There being no objection, HB 214 was reported out of the House Education Standing Committee.